The groups go outside as much as possible. Outdoor play is not only fun, it is also good for development, for example, the development of children’s motor skills. Outdoors, children can run, climb, slide, jump or hide. In addition, playing outdoors stimulates the cognitive development of children; they learn to count (how many legs does the spider have) and develop knowledge about the weather, materials and plants. Social development is also stimulated. When children feel safe outdoors and are sufficiently challenged, playing together will also go better and fewer conflicts will arise. In addition, children use their senses much more outdoors. They gain experience with scents, colours, temperature differences, sounds, rain, wind and sun.
Outdoors, you feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face or catch raindrops in your mouth. In addition, children gain experience by feeling everything outdoors, where, for example, they discover that sand and dirt feel different. When you play outdoors, you can get dirty… get your hands into the mud and go looking for critters.
Hiking together is always a sociable outing and so the children explore the environment around the daycare; the wagon goes along for those children who cannot yet walk that far. It can also happen that children leave their home group when they play outdoors in a non-bordering outdoor space, such as a nearby school playground. Here we use the professional-to-child ratio. For more information about outings and playing outdoors, see the protocol ‘Playing Outdoors at De Kleine Wereld’.